Antonio Scotti wrote:Hi
I have followed this discussion of the use (or non use rather!) of peat moss for seeds starting.
What about seeds stratification? What can be a substitute for peat moss for stratifing seeds successfully?
sand, vermiculite, perlite, peat, composted bark, sawdust, or potting media or as I said earlier something I call stump dirt (rotted wood from forest).
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Thanks BeeDee, but in line with the original post that started this thread, I was looking for alternatives that are sustainable.
You include peat, vermiculite and perlite which aren't that sustainable.
Saw dust and sand might be a good one but I wonder if it keeps humidity as well as peat moss. May be home-made potting media that has a lot of organic matter might also be a good choice I reckon.
It is called leaf mold. Where leaves are compacted on the ground where springs come up they decompose slowly in an anaerobic condition and become a dark brown ore black powder. This in turn would wash out and settle in the retention dam. When I drained the dam to empty the sediment I would divert it to the sandy soil in the orchard. the mix of sand and leaf mold was perfect for starting vegetable seeds.
I no longer live on the Wauna springs but an alternative is to fill the shallow ponds in my flood plain with grass over the winter. when I rake it out in the spring there is a layer of this anaerobic compost on the bottom which will withthe small amount of clay in it hold moisture when mixed with sand for my potting mix.
Here's the thing, seedlings do not need fertilizer of any sort or amount, using it can lead to stem rot, stem bolt (fall over death knoll).
Expanded mica (vermiculite) and or pearlite are the best mediums (other than sand) for starting seeds without using any peat products. Peat, by the way is an acidifier all on its own.
Once the seedling has that second set of true leaves open then you can add just a little all purpose fertilizer and I mean like 1g per 2L solution.
Would this provide enough to get a small plant through the winter inside a basement? I would like to take cuttings from this fall and then new plant starts and grow inside until the spring sets in. Then I will put in my cattle panel tunnel in small pots before planting in their summer home. I get bored over the winter and need to do something to get through cabin fever.
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hau Dennis, as a rule of thumb you start plants in a medium that retains but yet drains water, the seeds have enough energy stored to get them to the first set of true leaves. When my start ups get to that point, I repot into 3 to 6 inch containers that have a sand, compost, soil blend (ratio is 1:2:0.5) This gives the plants the nutrients they need and since I create compost that has a fairly complete microbiome, the baby plants get a dose of mycorrhizae, bacteria along with other fungi, springtails, amoeba, flagellate and other protozoa types and sometimes I find nematodes living in the compost. Once plants are in "growing up soil", you can keep them indoors or out, and adding lights will help the growth rate and health of the plant.
For cuttings I really like pure sand to start the rooting process, it allows me to water with willow water which gets the roots growing from the prepared part of the stem. (I like to make four incisions on a stem to give the roots a heads up as to where I would like them to grow)
Not peat moss precisely, but I grow sphegnum moss. I became concerned also about sustainability so now I grow my own. The batch was supposed to be sterile, but I was using it for another purpose and started seeing little greenies. :) The fish bowl works. If you have something larger (like a fish tank) you may actually get a good amount. Since I stopped using any kind of special soil for starting seeds I don't have much use for it anymore, I just keep it as a curiosity. It does just fine without any action on my part and it's starting to grow other plants that apparently had seeds in the original moss.
Zone 5b/6a, alkaline soil, 12 inches of water per year. For now the goal is a water independent urban homestead with edible landscaping and food forest.
Oh the stink of it! Smell my tiny ad!
2020 Permaculture Design Course for Scientists and Engineers, June 14-27